Our ‘Subject Matter Experts’
NTC Graduates New Class of Certified Safety Champions
Jan 18, 2017
Story and Photos by Jonathan Powell
WARREN, Mich. – Seventeen more Health and Safety Representatives from FCA US LLC facilities have earned impressive credentials that put them in the forefront as experts in their field.
After completing 240 hours of intense coursework provided by the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, the reps are primed to play a very important role in their plants in supporting joint union-management efforts to create an injury-free workplace.
They were among 97 H&S Reps and Alternates, Trainers, Ergonomic Analysts and Environmental Health and Safety Supervisors who attended a week-long training session last month at the UAW-Chrysler World Class Manufacturing Academy.
“Our people are more than prepared to assess any area of their facility, especially with the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) 30 training they receive in conjunction with their certification,” said Steve Perrott, FCA Health and Safety Coordinator.
“OSHA 30 gives students more detail and background behind the actual OSHA regulations and what the compliances are in addition to what we do from a FCA Health and Safety standpoint.”
OSHA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor that sets and enforces standards designed to ensure safe and healthful working conditions as well as providing training and outreach.
The UAW-Chrysler Health and Safety Specialist Certification Program, sponsored by the NTC, was developed by Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich. It complements the OSHA training by tailoring instruction to meet needs specific to FCA US.
“The Ferris State certification is specific to topics and more detail on specific programs and procedures like Fire Protection, Lock Out and Confined Space,” Perrott said. “So the certification affords the students a deeper dive on what the components are for individual health and safety programs.”
Since it began in 1996, the program has administered 14,122 proficiency tests across a broad spectrum of training, providing certification for 430 Health and Safety Specialists from union and management.
This training also has helped to heighten awareness of health and safety among average workers, and is credited with saving lives in the process.
UAW International Servicing Rep LaTonya Baker, who participated in the recent training, found it to be beneficial since UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell, Director of the union’s Chrysler Department, has made health and safety a high priority.
“This training is important to me because if I am tasked with being a Lead Health and Safety Auditor, I know what to look for in the plant,” Baker said. “I can share my knowledge with our new workforce as well as our workers that become lax on the job. If I see something that is unsafe, it is my job to correct the issue.”
Baker services the Mack Avenue Engine Plant in Detroit as well as Dundee (Mich.) Engine and Trenton (Mich.) Engine Complex.
FCA Safety Specialist Jackie Kumming concurs, noting that the OSHA training she received is current. “I recently graduated from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Occupational Health and Safety,” she said. “I can tell you that the information is on par with the college classes I have taken. I am gaining valuable information that I can take back to the plant.”
Kumming, who works at Dundee Engine, also learned a lot by networking with other health and safety professionals. “I enjoy listening to my more seasoned colleagues as they share situations that they have personally experienced,” she said. “You can’t get that type of knowledge out of a textbook; it’s the real thing.”
UAW Local 212 member Jane Schultz was among students who raved about the quality of their instructors.
“The instruction that we received is phenomenal; our facilitators are very knowledgeable and they encourage participation. Everyone has something to contribute in the class, no matter how long they have been in their position,” Schultz said.
“Never stop learning is my motto. Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes to help you see something that you may overlook or simply has become common.”
Schultz, who has 23 years’ seniority, wears multiple hats as she serves as the UAW Health and Safety Trainer, Total Maintenance Systems Coordinator and electrician at Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit.
Loreese Lee, UAW Health and Safety Coordinator, sums up the training and certification best by saying, “This type of training quite simply enhances a H&S Rep’s knowledge, regardless of whether they’re union or management.
“Each plant brings on different challenges and different safety hazards that are associated with that site. It may be air quality, noise, ergonomics etc. That’s why we offer basic core courses and then specialized courses that deal specifically with what that rep will deal with at the specific location.”
Lee said the training program provided by the NTC helps to make FCA US plants “as safe as humanly possible for workers” because its graduates become the “subject matter experts” equipped with the tools they need to make a life-saving difference on the shop floor.
Congratulations to the Newly Certified Specialists
Filippo Di Pillo
Burton (Buck) Juengel
For more information about Health and Safety Programs, contact Loresse Lee, UAW, at (586) 427-6830, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Steve Perrott, FCA, at (586) 427-6831, email@example.com.